Competition authorities defend national television and radio

28-03-2007, 10:10

Warsaw (Puls Biznesu) – Brussels received data concerning how public media are financed in Poland. The document is advantageous for TVP television and Polskie Radio (PR) radio.

The European Commission (EC) asked in December last year how public radio and television are financed in Poland. The Office for Competition and Consumers Protection (UOKiK) has answered the questions already.

“We are analyzing the data received from Polish authorities but it’s too early to say what we’ll do next. If public subsidies were allocated illegally, the EC may but does not have to, demand changes”, Audrey Lomonnier from EC competition department said.

The issue may be dangerous for TVP and PR. Three years ago, Brussels made Danish TV2 pay back EUR 84.4m it received in the years 1995-2002.

The response from UOKiK is very positive.

“Public media do not violate the low. They spend the money from the subscription fee for their mission. Detailed financial instruments are implemented to split mission and commercial activities”, Wojciech Dziomdziora, the member of the National Council for Radio and TV said.

UOKiK tried so hard to show public media in good light that it seems to have forgotten some facts.

“No entity filed a suit against price practices of TVP accusing it for unfair practices. There have been no proceedings against PR concerning the price of advertisements”, the document sent to the EC reads.

Meanwhile, UOKiK decided in 2002 that TVP’s price policy disturbs competition. For over a year, UOKiK has been running investigation started when Polsat, TVN and Agora media groups accused TVP for lowering the prices of advertising time. The proceedings have not been concluded yet.

“The proceedings have not been hidden on purpose. It has not been concluded so we couldn’t present the results of it”, Aneta Styrnik from UOKiK press office explained.

Specialists point out that the way public media spend funds raised in the subscription fee is not clear. The definition of the mission is so wide that everything suits there – from TV serials to sports.

“Subscription fee is public subsidy which has not been notified. The EC has the right to demand to pay it back”, Pawel Dobrowolski, the member of Przychodnia association said.

Przychodnia sent complaint to the EC last year provoking EC proceedings.

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Inne / Competition authorities defend national television and radio